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Abstract

Adult male Europeans who were living in what is now Adams County, Pennsylvania, when York County was formed in 1749 could not vote to choose either their king or their governor. Thanks to the royal grant of 1682, their governor in 1749 took the form of two Penn proprietors, named Thomas and Richard. Thanks to the political principles of the first proprietor, William Penn, adult male Adams countians could participate in electing some of the officers responsible for the orderly operation of government in the province. They could vote for two representatives in the provincial legislative assembly, three York County commissioners, six county assessors, a sheriff, and a coroner. In the cases of the two latter officers, the voters nominated two candidates, of whom the governor commissioned the one of his choice.

Potential voters had to meet certain qualifications in the form of ownership of real estate or personal property. Strictly speaking, they had to be British citizens, but probably on some occasions Germans who had not been naturalized were permitted to cast ballots. Giving the vote to adult females was something far in the future. [excerpt]

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